President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly in New York is set to focus on negotiating benefits for Turkey in exchange for its parliamentary approval of Sweden’s NATO membership.
This agenda comes amid ongoing discussions about Turkey acquiring F-16 fighter jets from the United States and potential developments in its relations with the European Union. Despite optimistic statements from US and EU officials, no definitive actions have been taken on either front, apart from the World Bank providing a significant financial boost to Turkey by doubling its funding to $35 billion for the next three years.
At a press conference at Atatürk Airport on his way to the United States on Sunday, Erdoğan stated that in parallel to the efforts to realise their vision of ‘Turkey’s Century’, his government is “determined to turn this period, where the global system is shifting, into an opportunity for our country and our nation”.
On the subject of Sweden’s NATO membership, Erdoğan said that Turkey could not make a decision until its own parliament had deliberated on the matter. “Sweden must fulfil its responsibilities first”, he added, referring to continuing demonstrations being held in the Nordic country by the Kurdish community and their friends.
Erdoğan agreed to support Sweden’s NATO membership during a meeting in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in July, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. The day after Ankara gave the green light for Sweden to join NATO, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced that the Biden administration would move ahead with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey in consultation with Congress. However, despite these positive statements, neither the US nor the EU has yet offered concessions satisfactory to Erdoğan, making this a key point of negotiation during his New York visit. Ankara is seeking to purchase 40 more F-16s from the US.